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A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Gateway Trailhead

By Solange for Scottsdale

Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban preserve in the nation! As a Councilwoman, I will ensure that a Desert EDGE/DDC in the Preserve requires voter approval.

After all, the Preserve came into being at the ballot box and voters should have the final word on any major changes involving the Preserve.

I think Scottsdale voters will decide to keep the Preserve.... preserved.
If that is the decision, we should celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Preserve’s Gateway Trailhead with a small plaque that reads:

THE PEOPLE OF SCOTTSDALE PROTECTED THIS LAND TWICE

Which may cause some to wonder, "How did this land get protected the first time?" And, "Who is 'Carla' anyway?" Let me share a bit of history.....

Carla, famously with no last name, was one of the first people to dream of a McDowell Sonoran Preserve and then ACT on it! She devoted over a decade of her life, inspiring leaders and fellow citizens to join her in an effort to preserve a large swath of arguably the most expensive and beautiful desert in all of Arizona. Scottsdale voters supported the vision and approved multiple tax hikes to acquire and protect the land forever. The creation of the Preserve is almost as miraculous as the desert it encompasses and our community has a miracle maker named Carla to thank! 

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Race Already Has A Stalwart Candidate In Steve Smith

 

Republican Wendy Rogers Announces Congressional Run to Unseat Tom O'Halleran

Flagstaff, AZ - Wendy Rogers, a conservative entrepreneur and retired Air Force officer who supported Donald Trump in the primaries, announces her run for the United States House of Representatives in the 1st Congressional District of Arizona.

A copy of the announcement video can be found on Wendy Rogers' Facebook Page.

A full text of her speech is below:

"Good afternoon, I’m Wendy Rogers . . . a conservative Republican.

I come to you now, running the race to serve as your congresswoman for Arizona's 1st Congressional District . . . in Sedona, home of our current Democrat congressman.

Thanks to President Trump, our nation, and its economy are reviving. Yet there is more to do and I want to help!

We must repeal Obamacare for the sake of our nation’s health and resolve illegal immigration, which threatens national security. We must build the Wall and end sanctuary cities once and for all. Respect for the rule of law has eroded. Our nation’s very identity and history are under attack, with liberals trying to erase Columbus, Washington, and Jefferson.

It’s up to us to protect the most vulnerable - our unborn and the elderly; as well as our very own families with our God-given right to keep and bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. Our strained, but steadfast, military is our last bulwark. America’s veterans are precious. I swore my life’s oath to secure the United States against "all enemies, foreign and domestic". I will do this again as your congresswoman.

As a 5th generation career military officer, I was privileged to serve as one of the Air Force‘s first women pilots. I’m now a successful business entrepreneur.

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I want you to be one of the first to know about the new commitment I am making to Scottsdale – because I believe you should hear it directly from me.

For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to helping maintain our wonderful quality of life. I have always worked to put Scottsdale first.

Now I believe it’s time for me to make the ultimate commitment to helping shape the vision and provide the leadership for our city.

I am planning to pursue the office of mayor.

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By Joe Arpaio

I filed the paperwork to run for United States Senate in Arizona to fill the seat that Jeff Flake is leaving behind.

I have thought long and hard about this decision. And I did not make it without many discussions with my wonderful wife of over sixty years, Ava. And Ava agrees with me. We cannot sit idly by while our nation faces unprecedented challenges. President Trump needs my help in the Senate. He needs a conservative vote he can count on, and a voice in the Senate who knows first hand the threats our nation is dealing with.

And, that's why I'm running for United States Senate.

As the Sheriff of America's fourth-most populous county for two decades, I witnessed every day the danger our streets and neighborhoods are facing. As Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, my deputies and I locked up violent drug dealers, callous human traffickers, and thousands of criminal gang members that were in this country illegally.

Friend, with many of President Obama's failed and dangerous policies still in place, our nation is not safe - at least not yet. President Trump is working around the clock to make America great again, but he can't do this alone - he needs our conservative voice and my vote in Washington.

Compared to when I was growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts as the proud son of Italian immigrants, our country today is barely recognizable. You know exactly what I'm talking about...

  • Sanctuary cities like San Francisco are literally refusing to hold illegal immigrants accountable for their actions, just to further their politically correct, pro-Amnesty agenda.
  • The once bedrock American commitment to paying our bills has been replaced by over $20 Trillion in national debt.
  • The liberal Left attacks the rights of law abiding gun owners -- but doesn't even bat an eye while so-called "doctors" slaughter millions of unborn children in their mother's womb every single year.
  • Millionaire athletes are lionized by the fake news media as "heroes" for disrespecting the American flag and refusing to stand for our national anthem.

Enough is enough. I'm running for Senate because I want America to be great again.

I know this isn't going to be easy. I know I'll be attacked by the far left, the establishment right and of course, the liberal media. The media is going to say every nasty thing they can think of and try to break me. But, Friend, I have never been one to shy away from a fight - and I can't in good conscience sit back in retirement knowing that my grandchildren will inherit a country worse off than the America I've spent my entire life defending.

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By Jim O'Connor

Recently, several friends suggested I clean up the Arizona Corporation Commission. They experienced significant ACC approved increases in power and water rates and they are looking for change.

Although retired, I have robust corporate experience worthy of the office.

I am running as a Clean Elections candidate so that I can fairly execute the responsibilities of the job, free from special interest influence.

But there are two requirements before I can fight for you.

First, I must collect 8,000 nomination petition signatures from Independent and Republican voters statewide. Please sign the online petition.

Second, I must collect 1,800 five dollar ($5) qualifying contributions from registered Arizona voters of any party. These will be paid to the Arizona Clean Elections Fund.

To help me, click the two links below, fill out the form and look for the name, James "Jim" O'Connor.

 

And thank you for your support.

 

— Jim O'Connor

 

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By Sal DiCiccio

Dear Friend,

I’m writing today on behalf of Phil Lovas, who is running for the 8th Congressional District seat.

I’ve known Phil for years and truly believe he’s the best choice to send to Congress. I also believe he has the best chance to win the special primary election on Feb. 27. Phil is a smart, dedicated, family man who believes the best government is a small government. He is committed to draining the swamp in Washington and protecting America. Phil supports term limits, ending pensions for members of Congress and making Congress live by the same laws they pass for us. He is a secure border advocate who also believes in a strong defense.

Phil previously served as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives. While there, he repeatedly voted to cut taxes and reduce the big hand of government. I’ve seen him in action defend small businesses from burdensome regulations while in the legislature and I have no doubt he will fight against big government as a member of Congress. 

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PHOENIX (November 7, 2017) — A statewide Arizona survey of 500 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters shows that just under a year out from Election Day, Democrat Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9) has extended her lead over GOP candidate Dr. Kelli Ward to a 7-point margin, 34-27. The survey, which was conducted immediately after U.S. Senator Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-election, indicates both candidates have lots of work to do in both defining themselves and their opponent over the coming months.

In an August poll of 400 likely voters, HighGround tested a hypothetical match-up between the same two candidates with a much closer margin of 30.5% for Ward vs. 31.8% for Sinema. Despite Ward receiving an endorsement from former White House advisor Steve Bannon in the time since the August poll was conducted and Senator Flake withdrawing, Ward has not seen a bump and in fact, has lost ground.  In both surveys, the plurality of voters had not made their mind up in favor of either candidate.

“Even with Senator Flake announcing his retirement and the whirlwind of media attention around Steve Bannon’s endorsement and visit, Kelli Ward has not seen any improvement in her support,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll. “The numbers continue to show that Ward is a flawed General Election candidate, and her nomination would likely result in a loss of the seat for Republicans.  With the apparent ceiling of support for Ward, there is clearly room for a different Republican candidate to emerge as a credible challenger with a path to victory, such as Congresswoman Martha McSally or Great Hearts founder Jay Heiler.”

The latest survey data also showed that Congresswoman Sinema is still not known by 37% of the electorate in Arizona, whereas Ward is not known by more than 40% of the electorate despite challenging Senator John McCain in 2016.

Coughlin continued, “While many have proclaimed Congresswoman Sinema to be a strong candidate, Arizonans are still unsure of her after a haphazard announcement of her Senate candidacy, with no subsequent statewide tour or messaging to support her campaign. We have yet to see the popularity she enjoys within the left leaning Congressional District 9 translate to rural areas such as Yuma and Yavapai counties – home to some of the larger cities outside Maricopa County, where she needs to be competitive.”

General Election turnout in off-Presidential Cycle races in Arizona shows that Republicans historically have a twelve-point turnout advantage, which steepens the climb for any Democratic contender. Today, not a single Democrat holds statewide office in Arizona.

“Quite frankly, Senator Flake stepping out completely opens up the race for a primary challenger to Ward and a more credible Republican to face off against Sinema in November.  Ward no longer has a candidate to beat up on, and Sinema can no longer count on a facing a damaged and resource-depleted Republican in November. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the electorate and I think this data shows that we are in for a wild ride,” concluded Coughlin.

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.  The General Election sample of 500 high efficacy general election voters has a margin of error of ±4.36%.

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by Scottsdale City Councilwoman Virginia Korte

Great communities like Scottsdale often share qualities that make them special -- including a strong economy, a vibrant downtown, an excelling community college and public school system, engaged citizens and civic and political leaders committed to keeping the city moving in the right direction.

However, one of the few shortcomings of living in the “West’s Most Western Town” is that some folks like to shoot first and ask questions later.  These characters like jumping to conclusions without taking the time to learn the facts.  Many of those who oppose the Desert Discovery Center, now known as Desert EDGE, are dismissing years of decisions made by multiple City Councils and an overwhelming majority of voters.  They are discounting decades of research that shows the project to be a desirable community amenity because of its contribution to our citizens as well as boosting our tourism industry.  And they are choosing to ignore the fact that since 1995 the optimum location for the project has been envisioned to be at the Gateway Trailhead on the edge of the Preserve.

The DDC/Desert EDGE has been part of the community conversation for more than 30 years.  Many preserve advocates, City Councils and dedicated citizens have supported the concept through its many iterations and designs.  It is the culmination of thousands of hours of public outreach, research, creative thought and exhaustive discussion regarding the purpose and vision of the proposed desert center.

Desert EDGE is focused on education.

The project will be a place that people visit to learn more about our desert and better understand how to sustain themselves in an arid environment.  This expanded knowledge is expected to lead to greater respect and preservation of our unique land. Additionally, ASU has committed to placing their Global Dryland’s Institute headquarters at the Desert EDGE as an important portal for global research, providing an opportunity for visitors to interact with scientists to enrich their educational experience.

I am a long-time supporter of the Desert Discovery Center/Desert EDGE because I believe it will be an incredible amenity to our city and our McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I am also a long-time advocate of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I served as chair of the McDowell Mountain Task Force, served two terms on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission and was active in all five “Save Our McDowells” political action committees to educate voters about the value of the Mountain Preserve to our community.  I was also the first executive director of the Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College and I am a steward for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

There is funding available to build the Desert EDGE without raising taxes. Citizens have already voted to use the Preserve sales tax to acquire land and make improvements in the Preserve.  There are additional funds available through tourism bed tax dollars.

I will not support an amendment to the charter or a resolution.  I will, however, support the right of citizens to collect enough signatures to place the issue on an election ballot.

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By Candidate for Governor Steve Farley

To what lengths will Trump go to destroy Arizona?

From the news that broke just a few days ago, apparently much further than we had ever imagined.

The Hill recently reported that President Trump is considering lifting the Obama-era ban on Uranium mining in northern Arizona -- a ban that was put in place to protect one of our state’s and country’s most beautiful and breathtaking regions.

Mining in that fragile area would destroy a significant part of our landscape forever. It would also cause undue risks to our groundwater and soil -- risks that could lead to an unmitigated disaster.

Arizonans have a deep appreciation for our natural treasures like the Grand Canyon but we need to fight to protect it. 

While we haven’t heard much out of the governor’s office on this topic, we can safely assume that Governor Ducey will no doubt fall right in line, just as he did with Graham-Cassidy.

Governor Ducey is much more concerned with political advancement in DC and helping his special interest friends than helping Arizona. The Koch Brothers have attempted for years to fund efforts to remove protections preventing mining in the regions around the Grand Canyon.

Now with Trump AND Ducey at the helm, they might just pull it off.

Arizona deserves a leader who won’t put Arizonans, our natural resources, or the beauty of our state in jeopardy to please their donors. 

Let’s take this fight to Ducey, Trump, and their backward agenda.

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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Dear Friends...

During the recent Council work study session on the Desert EDGE project, I summarized the history of events that has led to locating a Discovery Center in the preserve, at the Gateway on Thompson Peak Parkway. A few listeners asked me to share that chronology. It's a long history, so hold your seats!

In 1994 - before there was a preserve tax or a preserve! - the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission (MSPC) retained a local research firm, Nelson, Robb, Duval and DeMenna to conduct a statistically reliable telephone survey of Scottsdale registered voters to determine whether they supported land preservation.

The poll questions made it clear the City's goals were broader than just acquiring land. Each poll participant was also told, "The following are a list of features that are under study for inclusion in the preserve" and asked to rank the importance of each feature. For "Desert museums and education centers", 69.5% answered "very important" or "somewhat important;" 30.5% answered "not very important" or "don't know."

The poll results guided City Council in structuring the May 23, 1995 Ballot Proposition 400 seeking voter approval of a 0.20% temporary and dedicated preserve sales tax. That proposition was approved almost 2 to 1.

Following the 1995, the MSPC began studying where preserve assets should be built to enhance public entry to and enjoyment of the preserve. By March 1999, they had published their McDowell Sonoran Preserve Access Areas Report identifying several access points.

There should be a single Gateway, they said, as the focal point for educational facilities as well as a a broad array of public amenities - a visitor center, interpretative or educational centers, museum facilities, displays, an amphitheater, concessions and areas to accommodate large user groups. Many of those visions of 20 years ago survive today as features of the proposed Desert EDGE at the Gateway.

About this same time, 1998, homes were being constructed on Bell Road in the McDowell Mountain Ranch community, across from the southern boundary of the proposed Gateway.

In 2004, voters were asked to increase the preserve tax again (this time by 0.15%) and allow the revenues to be used for land "...and improvements thereto."

That vote prompted Council to begin defining potential improvements. City Council's first action was to authorize a "Municipal Use Master Site Plan" (MUMSP, for short) for the Gateway - the city equivalent of a developer's site plan.

In February 2006, staff held an open house to explain Council's future plans for the Gateway. Staff shared a site plan map identifying Phase I as the Gateway Access and Phase II as a Desert Discovery Center, including an interpretive center, support offices, café with outdoor dining terrace and a 400-seat outdoor amphitheater.

On September 18, 2007, based on the 2006 public outreach, Council approved the MUMSP for the Gateway with the site plan unchanged. The accompanying Council Report described a Desert Discovery Center "...that will serve as the primary educational facility [including] a small café in conjunction with the Center...[as well as]...an outdoor amphitheater as part of the Desert Discovery Center...used in conjunction with educational and support activities for the Center." The description even anticipated "...there will be limited evening activity at the Desert Discovery Center." Mayor Mary Manross and Councilmembers Betty Drake, Wayne Ecton, Jim Lane, Bob Littlefield and Ron McCullagh all voted for the Gateway site plan.

Starting in 2007, homes began to be constructed on the west side of Thompson Peak Parkway, across from the proposed Gateway and Desert Discovery Center.

On October 11, 2011, Council approved the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Areas Report. The 1999 Report had been updated in 2010, but still provided there would only be one Gateway and that its location would be the focal point for educational facilities and programs and include a broad array of public amenities such as a visitor center, interpretative or educational centers, museum facilities, displays, an amphitheater, concessions and areas to accommodate corporate picnics and other large user groups. The Report was adopted unanimously by Mayor Jim Lane and councilmembers Milhaven, Borowsky, Klapp, Bob Littlefield, McCullagh and Robbins.

Before and after 2011, several versions of a Discovery Center were developed, leading to a Council decision in early 2016 to contract for a definitive study of what a Discovery Center should be. For more than twenty years, Scottsdale's elected and appointed representatives had been guided by the wishes of Scottsdale citizens; respecting this history, Council stipulated the design be sited at the already approved site north of the Gateway trailhead.

Still, the contractor, Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale (DDCS), was given latitude to consider alternative sites. They could have recommended another site - at the Gateway, elsewhere in the preserve or out of the preserve altogether - provided an alternative showed promise as a superior location, insuring greater success for the Discovery Center. In fact, an alternative, superior site was identified, just south of the Gateway trailhead. That is the site council is now considering for the Desert EDGE.

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